March 8th marks the annual observance of International Women’s Day and while it celebrates the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women around the world, its true focus is on unity, equality and advocacy to bridge the gender divide that unfortunately still exists.

The theme this year is #EachforEqual – An Equal World is an Enabled World. For us, this idea of “enablement” being flipped on its head is powerful. We’re all responsible for our thoughts and actions and we can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions and improve situations. If we don’t do these things, are we enabling the gender divide to continue?

The way we change the system is by influencing who we are and how we show up. This doesn’t mean we are out marching the streets protesting and creating noise. It means we connect with our inner strength and power, design our lives mindfully and purposefully and have the courage to ask for what we want and deserve. As we say in the opening section of the Core Confidence book:

take ownership of your talents and put them in the service of your best and most daring self, not only for your own advancement but to act as a strong role model for those girls and women behind and beside you.”

2020 is the year to create new rules for yourself and the environment you work within. How can you be advocating and influencing change? Some ideas might include:

  • Take more opportunities to speak up even if you might get things wrong;
  • Leave perfectionism behind and be satisfied with giving your best, every day
  • Ask for what you want – negotiate that pay rise because you value yourself and what you bring
  • Live your values and call out behaviours or comments that you know are wrong or unfair
  • Know your strengths and abilities and banish self-doubt by being clear on exactly what you can and will do (and communicating it when necessary)
  • Find your voice and use it – holding your ground is a critical skill for influencing how you communicate and how others perceive you. Be visible!
  • Acknowledge your achievements so others can too

Advocacy and influence don’t have to be big and noisy. Create change with small steps, by having the courage to show the way. Each of these can make a big impact on those around us.